Reliance Jio SIM Available to Everyone From September 5, Free to Use Till December 31

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Reliance Jio SIM Available to Everyone From September 5, Free to Use Till December 31
Highlights
  • Reliance Jio will be available to all from September 5
  • The service will be free for all until the end of 2016
  • From January 2017, you'll have to pay for data but voice will remain free

Reliance Jio, the telecom offering from Mukesh Ambani, will offer the world’s cheapest data, said the 59-year-old billionaire, disclosing the long-awaited prices of what’s being set up as the country’s largest 4G network.

Ambani said that Jio not charge users at all for voice calls, including long-distance within India. But the big disruptor is the price of data- just Rs 50 per gigabyte, a fifth of what mobile phone users have been paying so far.

For customers who use more than 75GB, the price will slide further to Rs 25 per GB. This, Ambani, said, take India from “Gandhigiri to data-giri.”

 

(Also see: Reliance Jio Prices Revealed: 5 Facts on What's on Offer and When)

Starting Monday, any cell phone user, including those with smartphones as cheap as Rs. 2,999, will be able to sample all Jio services – including its library of movies and music - for free. The offer ends on December 31.

The announcements today, made in Mumbai at an annual shareholders meeting which included wife Neeta, mother Kokilaben and children Isha and Anant, have beaten the expectations of both the market and customers, who have been lining up for SIM cards to switch to Jio, which first started offering free services in May 2016. After Mr Ambani’s announcement, Reliance Industries Limited stock went up by 0.9 percent.

That has led to formal complaints including to the Prime Minister’s Office from competitors like Bharti Airtel, who allege that Reliance has used valuable 4G or fourth-generation airwaves at no cost, offering customers full-blown services for free, while gypping the government of revenue and stealing customers from other carriers.

(Also see: Reliance Jio's Controversial Beginning Explained in 5 Facts)

Reliance has denied any wrongdoing and countered that competitors are cartelizing to make it difficult for Jio users to connect easily with other networks.

Worried about the impact of Jio, Bharti Airtel this week cut its 3G/4G data tariffs on prepaid connections by more than 40 percent, after halving them a month ago.

Ambani is betting at least $20 billion on building, from scratch, a national digital empire stretching from phones and hardware to home entertainment and custom-made apps. Jio is unlikely to contribute significantly to Reliance profits anytime soon, but is hugely significant for its future. Reliance says its oil business is pumping out cash, and any investment in Jio has to be ambitious.

Two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion population are not online, and Jio hopes to capture 100 million users - nearly half of India's current smartphone users - within a year of launch.

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Gopal Sathe Gopal Sathe is the Editor of Gadgets 360. He has covered technology for 15 years. He has written about data use and privacy, and its use in politics. He has also written extensively about the latest devices, video games, and startups in India. Write to gopal@ndtv.com or get in touch on Twitter through his handle @gopalsathe with tips. More
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